French cemetaries

Today is 27°C, very dry, dusty and hot with an elevated and unhealthy pollution index. I’m sick of pollution – air, noise, water, food. I want to retire to the high plains of New Mexico and live under an endless, unpolluted, cobalt-blue sky. I want to smell the piñon and live in clean space and silence.

I’ve only been to New Mexico twice, but loved it intensely both times. On both trips I arrived by train – the first on the Amtrak Southwest Chief that originated in NYC and passed through Chicago (I was on that train for two and a half days. Crossing Kansas we saw coyotes.) The second trip was on the overnight from Los Angeles. I can’t wait to go again.

These photos are not of Santa Fe, but of a Parisian cemetary –

Neuilly, Sept 27, 2014 009
Neuilly, Sept 27, 2014 022Neuilly, Sept 27, 2014 019cemetary sept 20, 2014 040

In my neighborhood there are several parks as well as the Seine river which flows past the foot of my street. But I’ve recently discovered a new refuge in which to sit and read or write: the municipal cemetary. At the end of an alley and past a trio of chubby cherubs is a bench where I can sit in complete silence. And solitude! I was the only person there the other day. That is, me and a thousand souls. However, it became SO HOT I had to leave. Some people might find it odd to sit in a cemetary, but I find it peaceful. Here’s the bench below, under a tree whose name I do not know. (I’ve been meaning to buy a tree book for 15 years now.)

cemetary sept 20, 2014 017cemetary sept 20, 2014 015cemetary sept 20, 2014 027cemetary sept 20, 2014 030

French cemetaries, with their sepulchrals, numbered alleys, and family burial vaults, are not at all like English or North American ones. They are far more ornate, well-tended, regimented, and sacrosanct. 

cemetary sept 20, 2014 034cemetary sept 20, 2014 037
Neuilly, Sept 27, 2014 030

I’ve just learned that the famous Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky, master of abstract expressionism is buried here. I had no idea. I’ll have to go back and find his plot.

 

 

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